Healthyrant's Blog

November 5, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — healthyrant @ 5:10 pm

Here is a question I recently received from

My doctor has diagnosed me with diabetes and has told me to lose weight.  I have heard about high protein diets, low fat/high carb diets, and many others.  I want a sound diet instead of a fad.  What type of diet is best given my situation?

A diabetic diet is very healthy – even for people without diabetes.  It is balanced and emphasizes whole healthy foods, while limiting refined and excess carbohydrate.  That’s a real key point, too.  While the plan allows for you to choose how you want to “spend” your carbohydrate choices, you should choose whole foods 90% of the time.  Here’s an example:

Breakfast = 30 grams carb                     Total

Here are some possible choices:       

1/2  –  4″ Plain Bagel  =   24 g

1 oz.  Cheddar Cheese =    0

 4 oz.  1% Milk = 6 g                               30 grams


1 cup Oatmeal = 25 g

1 Egg,  scrambled in

       1 tsp. margarine or butter = 0 g                25 grams


1/2 c  Blueberries = 10 g

4  Strawberries = 4 g

1c Greek Yogurt = 11 g                            25 grams


Egg McMuffin = 30 g                                 30 grams


1 c Cheerios = 20 g

1/2 c  1% Milk = 6 g

Cantaloupe,  1/10 melon = 4 g                      30 grams


Coffeecake, crumb, 2 1/2″ square = 29 g

Coffee, black = 0 g                                            29 grams

As you can see, you will have a lot more food to fill you when you choose the  Cheerios  and cantaloupe vs. the coffee cake.  This is an example of making  wise carbohydrate choices.  When it comes to weight loss, fresh filling foods that are not overly caloric are the best choices.




July 25, 2010

Managing Diabetes and Hyperlipidemia

Filed under: Uncategorized — healthyrant @ 7:33 pm

Sometimes people have to deal with high cholesterol in addition to their high blood sugar, or diabetes. This is not as hard as it sounds when you know which foods to pick. Basically, a low fat, high fiber diet that is balanced according to your particular diabetic plan will do the trick.
To avoid foods high in saturated fat, cut bact on meat, cheese and eggs.  Two eggs per week is fine, or you can have unlimited egg whites or egg substitute.  Lean meats and cheese in portions outlined in your meal plan are fine about every other day.  I find most people keep a healthier diet while enjoying smaller amounts of regular cheese versus a larger piece of low-fat cheese.  Keeping the flavor of your food is important for satiety! 

It is very important for diabetics to have protein in meals and snacks, so think vegetarian: beans and rice, tofu, peanut butter. Your dietitian can help you add many plant based protein sources that suit your tastes.
A significant benefit of adding beans and legumes to your diet is the soluable fiber they provide – a sure fire cholesterol lowering bullet! Oatmeal and many fruit and vegetable fibers do the same.
Finally, make sure you have a good understanding of your lipid profile: in addition to the total cholesterol, what is your HDL and your LDL?  Your doctor may choose to order more advanced lipid testing for additional markers.  Again, a dietitian can help you with specific diet needs depending on what those numbers are.

Finally, and as always – – exericise!  Be active and enjoy life.

Moving on….

Julie Aitchison, MS, RD, LD

May 4, 2010

Can buttermilk be substituted for plain milk in cake recipes?

Filed under: Uncategorized — healthyrant @ 8:38 pm

I came across this question recently on using buttermilk in cake recipes. The concern was the fat content of buttermilk. Well, there’s no need to worry.  The fat content of buttermilk is the same as plain milk, not higher. For instance,
2% lowfat buttermilk has 4 grams fat/cup, whole has 8 grams, etc. Some brands even sell non-fat buttermilk! People often confuse the thickness with richness or higher fat but it is due to fermentation and lactic acid production. Think of how yogurt, made from milk, is thick and creamy.

In fact, the most important consideration for baking is the acidity of buttermilk. It needs baking soda instead of, or in addition to baking powder as the leavening agent. You may also need to reduce the added salt because buttermilk contains plenty of salt.

Speaking of recipe substitutions, Bobby Deen has his own blog: Get Fit With Bobby, and is revamping southern favorites such as Macaroni and Cheese.   If you are a fan of Paula Deen like I am, you’ll appreciate these recipes from Bobby – lots of great flavor with less fat and calories.  Notice that not all of the dishes are LOW-fat, but they could be called REDUCED fat.  Every little bit helps!!

Happy and Healthy Cooking!

Julie Aitchison, MS, RD,LD

April 19, 2010

Restaurant or Frozen Meals?

Filed under: Uncategorized — healthyrant @ 4:05 pm

People with diabetes want to have the luxury of convenient meals like everyone else.  Healthy home cooking is arguably the best route for cost and optimal nourishment, but when it comes to having someone else do the cooking, what is the best option?  If only we could all afford a personal chef!  Most people rely on frozen meals, formerly know as t.v. dinners, or dining out.

The advantages to a frozen meal are portion size, nutrient summary and convenience.  You can add price to that list if you are a smart shopper and purchase meals on sale and/or use coupons.  Portion size keeps a diabetic person on track with little effort, although some may need to add a salad or other vegetable  to get enough calories for the meal.   Nutrient summary shows all the info needed to count carbs, verify calories and keep an eye on details like sodium, saturated fat, etc.   You can’t beat the convenience of a frozen dinner and there are evenings after a long day that call for a quick to prepare meal.  If you know your tendency is to come home tired and start snacking without regard to quantity, you should keep a few frozen meals on hand. 

The main thing to keep in mind regardless of the source of your meal is to make sure it fits within the very specific structure of your diabetic meal plan.  If you are reading this, you likely already have that plan on paper and have received some instruction from a dietitian.  You must become a student and lifelong learner on the subject to keep your food choices and daily meal habits in line with your metabolic needs.  You will feel better and have an enhanced quality of life when you take your food seriously.

Restaurant meals can work as well, but keep in mind that you will most likely not have printed summaries of the nutrient content.  Most restaurant meals provide up to twice the amount of calories you need at one sitting.  Begin by requesting a to- go box when you first order.  When your meal arrives, split the portion to take home and enjoy later.  Using your skills and knowledge for portion control and measuring (3 ounces of meat is the size of a deck of cards, etc.), treat your restaurant meal as any other:  allow yourself the correct portions that your meal plan allows.  Your main goal is carbohydrate balance and blood sugar control.

Control calories by also choosing your meals according to preparation methods.  Just like you would at home, avoid fried foods, heavy sauces, fatty meats, starch heavy/vegetable low meals.  Remember that your choice to obtain meals from a restaurant requires more discipline, but going in prepared, you can enjoy the convenience.

March 24, 2010

My fasting glucose number was 127. What to do?

Filed under: Uncategorized — healthyrant @ 6:26 pm

First of all, make sure you were truly fasting when the test was done.  This means no food OR drink after midnight AND the morning before the test – water only.  Second, a blood glucose of 127 is essentially on the line between pre-diabetes and full-blown diabetes.  If you haven’t already, have it retested.  In the meantime, make sure your weight is normal for your height and begin exercising by walking if you are able.  Moderate regular exercise helps keep blood sugar levels in check.  You will also benefit from eating healthy carbohydrates (complex carbohydrates) like brown rice, vegetables, fruits and legumes instead of processed foods (sugary desserts, white bread products, candy, etc).  A visit to a registered dietitian can help you with the details of what to shop for and how to balance these foods throughout the day.  Go to to find a dietitian in your area who specializes in diabetes.  Get started today to feel great and slow the progression of the disease.  You are smart to catch it early on!

March 16, 2010

Easy Diet Changes

Filed under: Uncategorized — healthyrant @ 11:17 pm

Are you trying to get healthy? Be healthy? Stay healthy? Start with a simple change first thing in the morning. Have a bowl of hot oatmeal right from your microwave. Just add 1/3 cup quick oats plus 1 cup water and a dash of salt. Microwave 1 minute, stir and cook another minute, making sure to watch the last 30 seconds so it doesn’t boil over. It is as quick as instant oatmeal plus it is more economical and healthier as YOU control the ingredients! A glass of low fat milk makes this a great way to start your day! The protein in oats will stick with you long into the morning and the soluble fibers will help lower cholesterol. Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a healthy start!

As you go for your daily walk, may the road rise up to meet you,

Julie Aitchison, MS, RD, LD


Filed under: Uncategorized — healthyrant @ 11:09 pm

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